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Essays on the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood from the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth

Homo Hierarchicus and Ecclesial Order

Packer: Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters

Lewis: Priestesses in the Church?

Streams of the River: Articles Outlining the Arguments Against the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood

Mascall: Women Priests?

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       Death to the Beast



                           Click for music.  Player will open on separate page.              

           Celebrating 400 Years of Anglicanism in America at the Old Jamestown Church


Yet Another Eastern Orthodox Apologist Aspires to Correct Me

Thus far here, here and here, by one "Stefano", all today, March 29.  Given the somewhat frenetic pace and tone of his comments, I halfway expect more to be posted to blog entries in the Eastern Orthodoxy archive.  We'll see.

I must confess that I am beginning to grow a little weary of exchanging volleys with the Orthodox, especially now that I've offered the olive branch of a new ecumenical bonhomie here at The Old Jamestown Church.   Predictably, Stefano's given us nothing new, so I am not in a rush to respond.  I'll try to hammer out a response sometime after Holy Week.


Could Newman Have Been Right About the Catholic Sense of the Articles?

This blogger thinks so.  It's a matter I intend to look into more seriously when time permits. 

On a related subject, when I peruse the web for what's going on in the "evangelical" world these days, I'm afraid the term "evangelical" means anything and nothing. I'd be tempted to abandon the term altogether were it not for the fact that it has a long and honored history in the Church, as it it is a cognate of the world "Gospel." Somehow we Evangelical Catholics need to reclaim it. I try to do it by telling people I'm an "old school" Evangelical and that by that I mean a Christian who believes the apostolic doctrines of grace as set forth in the great Protestant confessions, which doctrines not only cohere with but flow inexorably from the orthodox triadology and christology of the Catholic Church. For us old school Evangelicals, Creed and Confession go together. We can only be truly Evangelical if we are rooted in the Great Tradition.  That means being Catholic. 

I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church.


Luther on Academic Theologians

To be read in conjuction with this.

"...the longer you write and teach the less you will be pleased with yourself. When you have reached this point, then do not be afraid to hope that you have begun to become a real theologian, who can teach not only the young and imperfect Christians, but also the maturing and perfect ones. For indeed, Christ’s church has all kinds of Christians in it who are young, old, weak, sick, healthy, strong, energetic, lazy, simple, wise, etc. If, however, you feel and are inclined to think you have made it, flattering yourself with your own little books, teaching, or writing, because you have done it beautifully and preached excellently; if you are highly pleased when someone praises you in the presence of others; if you perhaps look for praise, and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you did not get it -- if you are of that stripe, dear friend, then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this in the right way you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears. Then do not spare any expense! Decorate them with golden bells, so that people will be able to hear you wherever you go, point their fingers at you, and say, “See, See! There goes that clever beast, who can write such exquisite books and preach so remarkably well.”
From Preface to the Wittenberg Edition of Luther’s German Writings (LW 34:285-88).

The Old High Churchman on Anglicanism's Middle Way

UECNA's Presiding Bishop Peter Robinson has written yet another compelling article outlining why classical Anglicanism is neither "Catholicism with married priests", "Western Orthodoxy" nor the "English version of Calvinism."  Rather, 

In the end one has to accept that the Church of England, and thus the churches of the Anglican tradition, if they are going to be true to the historic formularies of the Church, have to concede that the core doctrinal position of the Church is Augustinianism, and lies somewhere between confessional Lutheranism, and confessional Calvinism in its particulars.

My own studies lead me toward a position that is very similar if not identical to the view His Grace defends in this article.


Holy Smokes


This Is Your Chant on Testosterone

And Bernard of Clairvaux was right.  Rise up.


Joel Wilhelm on the ACNA Task Force on Holy Orders

Will ACNA keep women's ordination or won't it?  Links to Wilhelm's previous two articles can be found at the end of this article.


A Reader Is Frustrated by the Problem of Anglican Identity

An Australian reader sent this to me in early February:

Can you please tell me how someone can be an Anglo-Catholic or High Church Anglican and believe in the 39 articles of faith and homilies? Isn’t there a conflict between the Catholic worship style with the real prescene in the Eucharist etc and the evangelical nature of the articles and homilies? I keep being told that to be Anglican is to be Catholic and Protestant but each parish seems to only focus on one. This is something I am struggling with and would like some help in understanding it.

My reader touches on several key issues in his query, but in order to give what I hope will be an adequate answer, those issues need to be teased out and examined.

First, there is the question of terminology with respect to the terms "Anglo-Catholic" and "High Church Anglican".  As Peter Nockles argues in his book The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship, 1760-1857,  the term "Anglo-Catholic" has historically been difficult to define with precision.  Read his comments here.

So it remains today.  "Anglo-Catholic" and "High Church Anglican" refer to different phenomena, but I personally know Anglican who call themselves "Anglo-Catholics" when they are really noting more than Old High Church Protestants.  And sometimes the term "High Church" is applied to the Tractarian Movement and its progeny, when it really shouldn't be.  I know Anglicans who call themselves "Anglo-Catholics", most of whom reject the 39 Articles but others who embrace them as Anglicanism's confession.  It's all very confusing.

The next issue concerns the authority of the Articles and the Book of Homilies.  There are many confessional Anglicans who question whether the Homilies should share the same degree of authority that the Articles.  I am one of them, for reasons I won't go into here. 

Next, there is the question of what is meant by "Catholic worship style".  I suppose whether something is "Catholic worship style" depends on the perspective of the observer.  Many Baptists take issue with what they perceive to be the "Catholic worship style" of Reformed and Presbyterian liturgies, whereas Anglo-Catholics and High Church Anglicans would consider those liturgies to be snake-belly low and hence very unCatholic.  My reader does explain that by that term he associates the doctrine of real presence.  But Lutherans believe in a version of real presence, and yet they are everywhere regarded as Protestants. 

Some Anglo-Protestants also believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, along with the Lutherans.  However, I have found that when some of these Anglicans refer to "real presence", they're really referring to the Calvinistic/Cranmerian view.  Ergo: more terminological confusion.

The bottom line is that I share the reader's frustration over the question of Anglican identity.   The various styles of churchmanship do tend to manifest themselves parish by parish.  Anglicanism being what it is, however, I think it's pretty much what we have to expect -- and live with, at least for the foreseeable future.


Lent Begins

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Akaroa, New Zealand

My wife and I returned from New Zealand yesterday.  Other than being able to attend an Ash Wednesday service at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Akaroa, NZ (above photo), my Lent is off to a late start.  So, I've decided to enter into the season now that we're back in the States with this poem from an Anglican priest, which I shared last year and which I may share every year going forward, since it captures the true spirit of the season.  (In a tip of the hat to the Orthodox, I don't know how many times the Lenten spirit of Herrick's poem was stressed in the Lenten seasons of my 13-year stint in the Orthodox Church, regardless of the austerity of the Orthodox Lenten fast.  I even heard one story about an Orthodox priest who, in confession, counseled a man to drink copious amounts of beer during Lent to counter his judgmental spirit.):


BY Robert Herrick (1591-1647)

Is this a Fast, to keep
The larder lean?
And clean
From fat of veals and sheep?
Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh, yet still
To fill
The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg'd to go,
Or show
A downcast look and sour?
No: 'tis a Fast to dole
Thy sheaf of wheat
And meat
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife
From old debate,
And hate;
To circumcise thy life.
To show a heart grief rent;
To starve thy sin,
Not bin;
And that's to keep thy Lent.


Sons of Liberty International

I humbly request that all my readers donate to this worthy organization.  It is legal to do so.

Sons of Liberty International (SOLI)



Nineveh Plains Protection Units

It's all well and good for us to lament for our brethren by posting cries of "Lord have mercy" on Facebook, quoting Scriptures about the reality of martyrdom in this world, and stressing the need to pray for them.  As the Christian militiaman Gabriel says in the video below from The Patriot, "Yes, PRAY for them, but HONOR them as well by taking up arms to fight with us."  We here in the free West need to honor them by supporting them materially as well as spiritually.  That means we need to send bodies, arms and money.  When I get back from New Zealand I plan to research these groups and how, provided they are graft free,  Christians can do so. So far I have found only this: Iraqi Christians Form Anti-ISIS Militia, and You Can Legally Chip In.


Iraq’s Christians Take Up Arms to Fight Islamic State


Jadis Takes One in the Teeth


Storm's Coming

Now is the time to start praying that the storm will be averted by replacing, forever, the EU and European liberal states with a more traditional model of government.  And if the church does not find its tongue on this issue, and soon, the traditional model may be neo-pagan and neo-fascist, not Christian.

Gates of Vienna: Is European Civil War Inevitable by 2025?


"Church For Men" Blog at Patheos


Scot McKnight v. Michael Jensen?

On January 19, Anglican New Testament scholar Scot McKnight posted this reply to a recent Gospel Coalition article penned by "Sydney Anglican" Michael Jensen entitled Nine Things You Should Really Know About Anglicanism.  Though the Sydney Anglicans tend to be "snake-belly low", and while I find fault with their support of eucharistic lay presidency, I tend to share their Reformed theology.  I found Jensen's article to be faithful to Anglican history and therefore posted a link to the article here.

Readers of McKnight's article may find themselves wondering if he meant to augment Jensen's article or refute it.  McKnight begins by summarizing Jensen's 9 points:

1. Since the arrival of Christianity in Britain in the 3rd century, British Christianity has had a distinct flavor and independence of spirit, and was frequently in tension with Roman Catholicism.

2. The break with Rome in the 16th century had political causes, but also saw the emergence of an evangelical theology. 

3. Anglicanism is Reformed.

4. Scripture is the supreme authority in Anglicanism.

5. Justification by faith alone is at the heart of Anglican soteriology.

6. In Anglican thought, the sacraments are “effectual signs” received by faith. 

7. The Anglican liturgy—best encapsulated in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer—is designed to soak the congregation in the Scriptures, and to remind them of the priority of grace in the Christian life. 

8. Anglicanism is a missionary faith, and has sponsored global missions since the 18th century.

9. Global Anglicanism is more African and Asian than it is English and American.

However, McKnight wrote that the purpose of his reply to Jensen is "to add one more point, something he did not mention that puts it all into a slightly different — broader — context and one I’m sure he’d affirm."  That point is as follows:

. . . I’d like to go behind these to what is even more primary:

Anglicanism affirms the historic Christian creedal faith. It is catholic in this sense.

So I ask, Where’s Jesus as a Person in this sketch? Where’s God the Father as a Person? Where’s the Holy Spirit as a Person? Father, Son, Spirit… That is, the first element of Anglicanism is that we affirm the creed and the historic faith of the church and that faith is belief in God — Father, Son and Spirit — and the church God has created.

We confess every week in fellowship with one another…

Not (by the way) We/I believe in the Anglican Church and its history and its special ideas and the Reformation and the doctrines of grace (except, let it be known, in the particular configuration of the following and its various articulations in Thirty Nine Articles [as the grounding]):

But We/I believe in one God the Father … one Lord Jesus Christ… in the Holy Ghost … and only then do we confess our faith in the church, but it is expansive: one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. The Anglican Church flows out of the creed about the church and must be understood from that basis.

The first thing to know about Anglicanism is that We believe in the glory of knowing God personally in the face of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit who has created the church.

In support of his argument he quotes Articles I through VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, which highlights the catholicity of the English Reformation (and does so to this day).

The thing I want to stress here is both the catholicity of the English Reformation and the catholicity of the English Reformation, and unfortunately, it is all too possible to construe McKnight's reply as stressing only the former.  Oftentimes when we hear or read Anglicans employing language like the necessity to put Anglo-Protestant claims "into a slightly different — broader — context", or that the Creed is "more primary" than the Articles (not true, say scholars such as J.I. Packer), or that "the Anglican Church flows out of the creed about the church and must be understood from that basis", what's behind it is an attempt to paint Anglicanism as some sort of tertium quid which is neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant.  Readers may want to look at the Protestant Face of Anglicanism archives here for a discussion about what Fr. Paul Zahl has written about all that, and this article by Alister McGrath as well. 

It is also significant to note the three Articles that follow almost on the heels of the 6 "catholic" articles McKnight references. After shoring up this section of the Articles on the Creed and Scripture in Articles 7 and 8, we read:

IX. Of Original or Birth-Sin.
Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, p¢vnæa sapk¢s, (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh), is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

X. Of Free-Will.
The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith; and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

XI. Of the Justification of Man.
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

From these three Reformational Articles flow the Protestant (and conservative) face of Anglicanism, which was clearly Jensen's goal to demonstrate.  Almost all Anglo-Catholics, many Roman Catholics, all Eastern Orthodox, all conservative Anglican Arminians and all liberal Anglicans reject the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion principally because of these and other anti-Pelagian/anti-Semipelagian statements of faith found in this Formulary (e.g., Article 17).  These statements, or so the drafters of the Articles believed, reflect biblical soteriology, and I would argue that biblical soteriology is just as "primary" as biblical triadology and christology, as they are all intimately related.  It's not enough to know who God us without considering what it was that He accomplished for us in the atonement.   Being and Act are one in the Godhead.  It will be interesting to see if Jensen so responds to McKnight.


"Call No Man Father"

A reader sends this question:

The Anglican Church has its appeal, but there are a couple of issues that I bump up against.  One of them is the church's habit of addressing clergy as "Father".  Since Jesus clearly said "Call no man Father", I have a hard time with the Anglican and Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Some Anglicans asked me what I call the man that was married to my mother, but I believe that Jesus was clearly talking in a religious context, not a familial one.  How is it that the Anglican Church violates what seems to be a fairly clear statement of our Lord??  Any thoughts?

Dear reader, yes, I do have a couple of thoughts.  The first is that certain Anglicans -- but I am not one of them -- would agree with you.  These Anglicans are typically on the "snake-belly low" side, basically Presbyterians with prayer books, Puritan types who detest anything remotely "Romish", like calling a presbyter a "priest" or addressing him as "father."  So, if you did become an Anglican, you would find at least some kindred spirits in the Puritan party.  (I'm using "Puritan" here, by the way, in a purely descriptive sense, not a pejorative one.)

My other thought is that those Anglicans who've asked you what you call the man that married your mother have effectively dismantled the exegetical argument, for it proves too much.  Your response is that "Jesus was clearly talking in a religious context, not a familial one", but I don't think that really does much for your case, mainly because it's igoring the context in which the command to "call no man 'father'" is found.  Let's have a look at the passage, which appears in Matthew 23:

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,a]"> and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbib]"> by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.c]"> And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

What is the point being made by Jesus here?  Is it about inappropriate honorifics or rather about the importance of humility?  Verse 12 contains your answer.  It's clearly about not pridefully glorying in titles.   Jesus employs a particular extreme rhetorical device here, like he does throughout the Gospels, with a view toward making a point, and here the point is clearly stated in v. 12.  It's somewhat similar to the device he uses when he said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”  Is Jesus really telling us not to attend to the funeral of our parents?  Hardly.  And neither is he instructing us not to refer to our pastor as "father."  I mean, why shouldn't we refrain from calling our pastor "pastor".  For we have only one pastor.   See how it works?

Is there no sense in which church leaders can be called "father", when St. Paul himself wrote, "For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel."?  How can we call no man "teacher" when the gift of teaching is listed as one of the spiritual gifts?  Are we to refrain from calling a seminary professor an "instructor"?  Really?

So yeah, your argument proves too much, and really doesn't account for either the context in which the statement "call no man 'father'" is found or for the fuller testimony of Holy Scripture.

There are my thoughts, for what they're worth.  And here's an article from a Catholic web site that goes into further detail: Call No Man "Father"?


Why I Am Becoming Anglican: A Brief Explanation for My Assemblies of God Family


Fr. Jonathan Graciously and Ably Rebuts the Argument of an Orthodox E-pologist

Here. Ensuing combox discussion is worth reading as well.


C.S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism

Worth the time.  On a related note, ex-Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee has gone on record as saying that states do not need to obey the US Supreme Court if that court's ruling is that state laws prohibiting gay marriage are unconstitutional.  Wherever you stand on the right of gays to have some sort of state-recognized union, Huckabee is right, and nullification is coming back to the forefront of national political discussion, whether the Federals and their left-liberal enablers like it or not.  States, county sheriffs and even individual citizens all around the country are currently nullifying, by disobeying, a number of laws they deem unconstitutional and/or irrational.  There is more such disobedience to come, I guarantee it.  As evidenced by such abominable law as the Obamacare contraception mandate, the churches of Christ here in the United States will increasingly be forced to jump on the nullification bandwagon whethery THEY like it or not, for we must obey God rather than men.  The time for "conservative" deference to an increasingly illegitimate liberal state is over.  No sovereign but Jesus.